The Republican establishment appears to be having an extremely difficult time trying to figure out how to best deal with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump,
His business success, coupled with his 14 seasons on a hit television show that honed his brand as a solid decision maker, is part of the uniqueness that Trump has been bringing to the political world.
Despite numerous attempts from various sources to thwart his campaign, Trump holds the top spot in a majority of the polls. This is throwing the elite political class, which includes high-powered politicians, major GOP donors, and a plethora of media figures, into a panic.
Ironically, the business mogul himself is essentially a renegade of the donor class. Politico interviewed a dozen Wall Street executives and found that some were actually astounded by Trump's standing.
“I don’t know anyone who is a Donald Trump supporter. I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who is a Donald Trump supporter. They are like this huge mystery group,” a CEO said.
During the first GOP presidential primary debate of the current election cycle, which was broadcast on the Fox News Channel, Trump appeared to be targeted from the start as the following question was posed: “Is there anyone on stage, and can I see hands, who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person?”
Without hesitation, Trump raised his hand. This elicited a surprise reaction from the moderator, who said, “You’re standing on a Republican primary debate stage, the place where the RNC will give the nominee the nod. Experts say an independent run would almost certainly hand the race over to Democrats and likely another Clinton.”
The moderator’s apparent concern was that a third-party run by a candidate such as Trump would bring about a scenario similar to the double runs of Ross Perot as a third-party spoiler, who to Bill Clinton’s benefit was able to syphon off enough votes from Republican nominees to insure electoral victories for the Democrats.
Trump, who raised his hand and frankly acknowledged that he would not commit to a GOP candidate other than himself, explained his position in deal-making terms. He indicated that his objective was to retain leverage within the party.
In an example of what has become a routine assertion of power by ruling class elites against those who adhere to conservative principles, the Republican Party, mainstream media, and intelligentsia proceeded to implement a multi-pronged strategy in an effort to obtain Trump’s signature on a no third party pledge.
There was even an attempt to create a regulatory scenario in which only those candidates who dutifully signed the pledge would be allowed to qualify to be on the ballot in various states.
This eventually led to the highly covered media event in which Trump acquiesced to the no third party stipulation, and he signed a document agreeing to support the party's ultimate nominee and promising not to run on a third-party ticket.
Now voices closely associated with the Republican establishment are advocating that the GOP should do precisely what Trump had to promise to forgo. Back in July, Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol incorrectly predicted that Trump's candidacy would be over after Trump made some remarks about Sen. John McCain. At the time, Kristol said, “He [Trump] jumped the shark yesterday. He's dead to me.”
Kristol recently told CNN that if Trump were successful in obtaining the Republican nomination, he would not support the Republican but would instead opt for a third-party candidate.
“I doubt I’d support Donald. I doubt I’d support the Democrat,” Kristol told CNNMoney via email. “I think I’d support getting someone good on the ballot as a third-party candidate.”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton “would be an excellent independent ticket,” Kristol stated.
Apparently, the idea that a third-party run would deliver the White House to another Clinton does not faze Kristol. Neither does it seem to bother Mark McKinnon, the chief media strategist for former President George W. Bush. McKinnon discussed with NPR what GOP leadership would do in the event Trump ends up as the party's nominee.
“The Republican establishment completely freaks out,” McKinnon said.
“They get together and say, this is unacceptable, but it looks like it’s going to happen. So we [the GOP establishment] go off, and we create a new Republican Party as an independent candidacy and draft somebody who’s tanned, rested and ready to go, and with a lot of money, somebody like Mitt Romney,” McKinnon added.
If this doesn’t take the cake. First, spokespeople for the GOP establishment attack Trump for leaving open the option to pursue a third-party candidacy. The GOP establishment then applies pressure on Trump to commit not to run as a third-party candidate. In good faith, Trump agrees to sign the pledge not to run third party.
A prominent establishment Republican begins to threaten to run a third-party candidate of his own choosing. And to top it all off, a former Bush consultant suggests a third-party run is a distinct possibility, perhaps by someone like failed former GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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